Slugwire City On A Hill Press
June 3, 1999

Added June 15, 1999

I received an email from EWF Joshiieee who reported on an email he received from Toriphile Heather. Heather is a student at the University of California at Santa Cruz and she saw an article in a recent issue of that school's newspaper with the headline, "FAnatic In Santa Cruz." The newspaper is called the Slugwire City On A Hill Press and the issue with this article was June 3, 1999 (Vol.33 Issue#29). The article talks about MTV Fanatic and includes an interview with a student named Sara Bickford, who was chosen to meet Tori on Fanatic. There is also a photo of Sara with Tori and a second photo of Sara holding up a Fanatic shirt. Robyn Wandzell found this article online at the City On A Hill Press Online web site. You can read the article there and see the photos! I found it really enlightening how MTV told Sara to not use such big words on the program or else she may confuse the MTV listeners. That certainly says a lot in my opinion! The article says at the end that the Tori Fanatic episode will air on July 21 but I think the real air date is Wednesday, July 14!

Since I expect the online article to be removed later, I have included the text of the article and the photos below.


Michelle Lin Satzinger
Contributing Writer

Tearing a stylin' tank top and checkered draw string skirt, Sara Bickford opens the door of her beach home and greets me with a groggy smile. Like most 21-year-olds who work and go to school, Sara is tired as hell from a late night and early morning schedule. She warns me that she might not be very articulate this afternoon since she had to get up at the butt crack of dawn to work at the coffee shop, and suggests we talk outside in the sun. We pick a porch swing in the corner next to two of her shirtless guy friends, the "Fight Boys" drinking super-sized Bud-in-a-can. Sara lights a smoke, but her attention span only lasts half way to the filter. What a waste at $3.99 a pack.

Sara might not have had her two cups of black death yet, but she displays little sign of extreme or excessive behavior which, according to The New American Webster Handy College Dictionary, defines fanaticism. She is normal enough, and granted she has three life size Tori Amos posters in her room, but what makes her an authority on Tori? What about her is so special that would compel MTV to fly her to New York, put her up in some fancy schmancy hotel room, hook her up with Tori Amos, and give her 15 minutes of air time on the most hyped-up music channel on Earth? I'm not jealous, I mean..I only kind of like Tori and... and New York's not my cup of tea, but being on TV- I want to be on TV!

City on a Hill Press: Well Sara, tell me a little about the history of your fanaticism. Sara: I've been listening to Tori Amos for about five years and following her career. I've always been in love with her music and it helped me realize that I wanted to play the piano myself.

CHP: What is it about Tori that inspires you?

SB: She brings up things in her music that people are afraid to talk about, and speaks about them in a very honest matter. Not everyone gets it, but once you do, it's a kind of enlightment. You start to pick up on a lot more things about the world that you didn't notice before. She just really inspires me to be a better person and also to find a musical outlet to express myself.

CHP: What motivated you to make a video and enter into the show FANATIC?

SB: It's kind of funny because I don't even have MTV and I was searching the web for Tori and I came across the MTV site and they were searching for a fanatic to meet Tori. There are so many people out there that are fanatical about Tori. She has a very strong following so I really didn't think I had a chance, but I knew I couldn't win without entering so, I did it. The next week I went to see her in concert and walked into the Oakland Colosseum and knew every single person in there was thinking they were her biggest fan as well. I just thought "there's no way this is going to happen." Guess I was wrong.

CHP: What is it about you that makes you Tori Amos' biggest fan?

SB: MTV says so. I'm sure there's someone out there who's more fanatical about Tori but I fit the shoes of what MTV was looking for. I was willing to work with them and basically do anything just to get a chance to meet her.

CHP: How is it that you were inspired by a person you never met?

SB: Tori really reveals herself in her music, and she gives a part of herself that most musicians don't. I can relate to her music and make that connection even though I've never met her. I know it's a pretty bizarre thing.

CHP: How do you view the show FANATIC?

SB: Uh, you can't ask me that. A lot of people do want the chance to meet someone they've been admiring from afar for so long. I do think they do some shows on people that shouldn't necessarily be a mentor, so to speak.

CHP: Like who?

SB: Pamela Anderson and models. They've inspired me to pay more attention to my outer being. I don't know, but the whole staff at MTV were so fun to work with. It's just a matter of what the public wants and who the public wants to meet. So if someone wants to meet Pamela Anderson, hell, let them.

CHP: MTV is supposedly a reflection of a certain generation, our generation, or maybe even younger...

SB: A lot younger. I think they've been attracting a very young crowd as of lately.

CHP: Do you think MTV justly represents this generation?

SB: know..there's so many different kinds of people out there and for the past 10 years MTV seems to have been attracting a younger crowd who don't really know what they want. MTV gives them what they don't know they want. But they miss a big section of us who don't want to be known as the "who cares" generation. We actually want to do something with our lives and change this world that's so f***ed up already. I think MTV needs to be doing more things that involve the younger generation as people who are willing to start making changes.

CHP: How did MTV tweak with you to make you what they wanted you to be?

SB: They really wanted high energy. They wanted bubbly. "Bubblier, bubblier " they kept telling me, and it's really hard not to be when in less than 24 hours you're gonna be sitting next to the woman that you've sought after for so long. But at the same time, it's pretty exhausting because you're doing several different takes. It's not like you just walk out of a limo and that's it. It's like "get back in the limo, o.k., get back out. This time look that way." They want to make sure they have every single shot and they're in your face the whole time. They told me to tone down my vocabulary because most of the viewers wouldn't understand me, and that was a scary thought.

CHP: I know MTV censors the questions you can ask. What are some questions that you would have liked to ask Tori that you weren't able to on the show?

SB: Well, I had to come up with 45 questions to e-mail the producer and the crew picked 15. They actually picked quite a few good ones but seeing as I already know everything about Tori, I wanted to expand on them. They didn't want to touch on subjects that were too controversial, mostly pertaining to religion and sexuality, which is understandable. Besides it's a 15 minute segment of a show. Tori kind of made a little joke about the media and rolled her eyes toward MTV. They don't really cover her all that much. She has a huge following, but she doesn't have videos, she doesn't get played on the radio, and she knows she really doesn't need that stuff. I got the chance to tell her I didn't even have MTV and found her on the internet, and she said "you really worked it just to get to meet me, that's fabulous." And I was like "yeah, well, you're pretty amazing yourself."

CHP: Let's talk about the word Fanatic. When I think about a fanatic, I think about...

SB: Stalkers

CHP: Stalkers, religious fanatics. What makes you a fanatic?

SB: I think it is a funny word to describe a number one fan, but it really does make you sound like a crazy stalker who's been camping outside of people's houses. It's funny when I say "I'm MTV's Tori fanatic," It makes me feel a little nutty.

CHP:You do stalk her don't you?

SB: Well yes, I fly to England on a daily basis.

CHP: How real was the show?

SB: It's as real as TV gets, kind of. They woke me up at eight in morning and watched me get my makeup on and shoes on, like Mr. Rogers, and pack my bags up and get ready to go. I think MTV's trying to show the realness to things, but it's still hard to do on nationwide TV. It's a hard job to tackle.

CHP: What message do you think MTV is trying to convey?

SB: It's hard to say because I don't really watch MTV, probably because I don't agree with the image they are trying to convey. Like I said, it's this "who cares" generation. There's that VJ Jesse who's this doofus who shows no sign of intelligence. It insults me and I don't want to be part of that generation. I think they are trying to change that, but I don't think it's going fast enough.

CHP: Did you get paid for being on the show?

SB: No, I wouldn't even think of asking. They put you up in a hotel, they give you spending money.

CHP: How much spending money did you get ?

SB: I can't divulge. Sixty bucks each a day, which is about what New York does to ya in a day.

CHP: Do you have any idea of how well the show is doing?

SB: Well, enough to put it into a second season. I think a lot of people watch it. Whenever I mention it to anyone they recognize it. I think it really depends on who the artist is and whether or not people are interested in that person. For instance, if the Spice Girls were on I wouldn't necessarily tune in.

CHP: Oh, I would. I did watch that one. It was pretty good.

SB: Yeah, MTV said they were so nice and cool to work with. Apparently they were really cool.

CHP: Because of FANATIC, I learned the Spice Girls promote diversity.

SB: Yeah, girl power...sure.

CHP: And, Spice Up Your Life! I guess it's just amazing that people can read into things like that and grasp for inspiration. Did you know Tori Amos inspired you before your were like "Ohmigod, I need to think of some way to convince M.T.V that she's my role model!" Did this whole experience force the fan out of you?

SB: No, she really does inspire me in many ways. A lot of her music is very spiritual and religious and we're both recovering Christians, and at a time I was really questioning life, she helped me form my own spirituality instead of conforming to one of the world's major religions. She also inspired me with my sexuality, knowing that I deserve a certain amount of respect and adornment.

CHP: What have you come away with from the show?

SB: The night before I got picked, I was complaining about how much I hated the world and how much I hated people. It really gave me a boost and brought things to life. When I do go after something, I can achieve it. It reinforced that fact.

The Show airs on Wed. July 21 @ 10:30pm Pacific Time.

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